Giants 2, Athletics 1(10)
Aubrey Huff has been mired in a slump for most of the season, so it was only fitting he was at the plate at the biggest moment Friday night for the San Francisco Giants.
For the defending World Series champions, key hits always seem to come from the most unlikely sources.
Huff hit a game-ending single in the bottom of the 10th inning, giving the Giants a 2-1 victory over the cross-bay rival Oakland Athletics in thrilling fashion.
''That's what this team does - guys come through in the clutch,'' Huff said.
Huff's line drive to right-center off Brian Fuentes (1-5) scored Emmanuel Burriss from second, sealing the NL West-leading Giants' third straight win. They also had a trio of spectacular defensive plays from Freddy Sanchez, Nate Schierholtz and Huff to hand Oakland its third consecutive loss.
Burriss led off the 10th with a single and Andres Torres' sacrifice bunt moved him to second. Oakland intentionally walked Sanchez, setting the stage for San Francisco's sixth walk-off victory this season.
Javier Lopez (2-0) pitched a perfect inning for the win. Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong matched Oakland ace Trevor Cahill, who yielded just one hit in six innings, before the two stingy bullpens pitched scoreless ball into extra innings.
In the end, it was San Francisco that pulled out another tight game.
''A lot of people say they've been there and done that. We literally have,'' Burriss said. ''Once you do it as much as this team has, it comes a little bit easier.''
Runs were at a premium in the latest edition of the Bay Area series.
Torres drew a leadoff walk in the first inning, stole second and went to third after catcher Kurt Suzuki tossed the ball into center field for an error. Sanchez grounded out to second to score Torres, giving San Francisco a 1-0 lead before some fans had even settled into their seats.
Oakland tried to answer with a hit-and-run play in the second, with Josh Willingham attempting to go from first to third on a single to right by Mark Ellis. Schierholtz picked up the ball and zipped a throw to third that was scooped out of the dirt by Miguel Tejada, who tagged Willingham.
''Every play in a game like that is magnified,'' A's manager Bob Geren said. ''You have to take advantage of every opportunity you can, especially in a pretty good pitcher's park.''
The A's loaded the bases in the fourth after Huff's throw from first pulled shortstop Mike Fontenot off the bag at second. Vogelsong got Cahill to ground into a double play, scoring Ellis from third to even the score at 1-all. Coco Crisp then grounded out to second.
Vogelsong left after six innings, allowing only the one unearned run and four hits. The Giants have won all five starts he has made this season.
The A's caught a huge break in the seventh when Ellis took third base on a blown call by plate umpire John Tumpane. Replays showed Cliff Pennington foul tipped the pitch from reliever Ramon Ramirez, but Tumpane ruled he swung through it and allowed Ellis to move up.
Giants catcher Buster Posey was livid, screaming at Tumpane in protest until manager Bruce Bochy came out to argue the call. But it never cost San Francisco - Pennington popped out and second baseman Sanchez made a diving snag to throw out pinch-hitter Conor Jackson.
''One of the best ones I've ever seen,'' Vogelsong said. ''I feel like I've played behind great defense all season.''
NOTES: Ellis notched his 1,000th career hit with a single in the second. ... A moment of silence was held before the game for Minnesota Twins slugger and Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew, who died Tuesday at 74 after battling esophageal cancer. ... Giants INF Mark DeRosa said he has a partial tear of a tendon in his left wrist and is scheduled to see a doctor next week. ... The Athletics will likely call up LHP Trevor Outman and RHP Guillermo Moscoso on Monday to fill the void at the back end of the rotation after Brandon McCarthy and Tyson Ross were put on the disabled list. ... Giants 3B Pablo Sandoval is on schedule to return from right wrist surgery in two or three weeks, Bochy said. Sandoval will go on a minor league rehab assignment before he comes back.